Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Having recently spent a few days in the hospital to give birth to L.A. Story's newest addition, Baby Clark 2.0 -- not to mention in light of the upcoming election -- health care and health insurance have been on my mind a lot lately
While we usually think of health insurers as some big, anonymous organization that covers the bulk of the medical bills (at best) and a monolith of red tape and restrictions (at worst), I was happy to hear that one group, WellPoint, the umbrella group of Anthem BlueCross BlueShield (which also happens to be my health insurer) is looking to be more active in their members' lives -- moms in particular.
Last week I participated in a conference call with WellPoint representatives to talk about what they have to offer in the way of mom support (pre- and postnatal), preventative care and fitness help(!).
"We want to bridge the gap between traditional care and a family's need for access and timely support," said Dr. Ellen Silver, medical director, clinical strategy and innovation at WellPoint. "The industry is recognizing that you need more from us, and insurers are taking a much more active role, giving you access to tools to make more informed decisions."
You might be surprised at what they have on their parent-friendly menu of inclusive services. I know I was.
24/7 NurseLine: When you need quick, after-hours (or any hour, for that matter) medical advice, just call a toll-free number to speak with an experienced nurse. Has your child fallen and lost a tooth? Your daughter has shoved an eraser up her nose to see if it would fit (Guess what? It does!). Should you attempt to take it out yourself? How do you get rid or prevent those seemingly ubiquitous classroom bugs, lice? A registered nurse will be available to answer questions and direct you to the best course of action. Whew!
Future Moms: While the NurseLine is such a great idea and helps me rest at night knowing I can get someone on the phone if CC gets a little eraser-happy, the Future Moms program got my attention even more. This program gives expectant moms access to tools such as risk screening and educational support to help them maintain a healthy and informed pregnancy. There are also lifestyle tools for lactation and nutritional support. But what really grabbed me was the program's acknowledgment that moms need support even after baby is born. So they offer a post-delivery follow-up to see how things are going, and that includes a screening for depression, which we hear so much about. Very nice to know that support doesn't end at birth.
Personalize Your Health: Through a Web portal, you can access ways to achieve goals in fitness, nutrition, weight management and kicking butt (the cigarette kind, that is). Through tailored health programs and certified online coaching, moms (and dads!) can get motivated to change the way they eat and exercise.
Fitness to Fit Your Lifestyle: And speaking of exercise, this program gets personal when it comes to fitness. WellPoint and its affiliated plans have partnered with FitOrbit.com to offer affordable ways to track and maintain your exercise regimen, including access to trainers via phone and live chat, fitness plans that you can do even at the park and healthy menus for more nutritious meals. (Keep in mind that this is an extra service, but WellPoint is offering readers a discount to FitOrbit that can be accessed through this link.)
As a mom to a 5-year-old and now a newborn, I was more than happy to see that insurers are looking beyond doctor's appointments and hospital visits and recognizing the being healthy happens at home, too. While we might not always need the NurseLine, it's great to know that services like that are available as part of your insurance package. Not only that, but you can also feel like an active participant in your own health care routine -- and know that even your health insurer has your back.
(Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, for which I was compensated, in partnership with The Motherhood and Anthem BlueCross BlueShield. The views expressed in this post, however, are my own.)